Assessing the Issue of Arbitrariness in Capital Sentencing in North Carolina: Are the Effects of Legally Relevant Variables Racially Invariant?

Judith Earl, University of South Florida
John K. Cochran, University of South Florida

This study uses sentencing data on 828 capital cases processed in North Carolina between 1978 and 2001. Logistic regression on race-specific models is used to assess the variable effects of aggravating and mitigating circumstances on capital sentencing outcomes (death vs. life), with an emphasis on the role that race plays in shaping the submission and acceptance of these factors. Implications of the results are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006